Cardiovascular risk management in community-dwelling elderly: opportunities for prevention

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Dec;19(6):1365-72. doi: 10.1177/1741826711422979. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


Background: There is little information on the prevalence of hypertension and other modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in community-dwelling elderly in the Netherlands and the potential impact of improving antihypertensive treatment on major cardiovascular events.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of Dutch community-dwelling subjects aged 70-78 years without dementia who were included in the cluster randomized preDIVA trial (Prevention of Dementia by Intensive Vascular care).

Methods: The prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors are described for participants with and without a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Projected benefits of blood pressure decrease are calculated using data from a meta-analysis and a large national registry.

Results: Of 3534 subjects, more than one-third (n = 1230, 35.2%) have a history of cardiovascular disease. Overall, 63% of subjects have two or more cardiovascular risk factors amenable to treatment. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) is ≥160 mmHg in 37% of patients with CVD, of which 28% is untreated. In subjects without a history of CVD, 41% have a SBP ≥ 160 mmHg of which 52% is untreated. A 5-15 mmHg decrease in SBP is projected to prevent 12-32% of coronary heart disease and 16-41% of strokes, respectively. This corresponds with 14-38 prevented cases within 2 years in our intervention group (n = 1895).

Conclusions: Hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors are very common in elderly subjects. Current (primary and secondary) prevention programmes appear insufficient. Improved antihypertensive treatment has the potential to prevent a substantial proportion of strokes and coronary heart disease in this population.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Community Health Services*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Systole
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents